Monday, 10 December 2012

Mysore “Marriage”: Curse of Muslim Women in Kerala

‘Mysore kalyanam’(Mysore Marriage), where Pathan Muslim men from Mysore marry brides from Kerala,a State of India thrives in the city despite bitter experiences for over a decade.

Local unemployed men — some of them anti-social elements, criminals, thieves and drug addicts, — marry girls from Wayanad, Malappuram and Kannur districts of Kerala only to get financial benefits. They divorce their wives later  for various reasons and leave them to fend for themselves. Some of the hapless women are left with three or four children to feed.
Often, the reason cited by men for divorce are trivial issues such as ‘wife has not learnt Kannada, she is not good at making candles or rolling beedis, not fit for Mysore culture or that her cooking skills are bad’.
For some of these men, marriage has become a habit. They go on marrying one girl after other and take dowry from parents of all helpless brides. They organise even fake establishments — parents, house, relatives, etc — in collusion with brokers, who get 15 to 20 per cent of the dowry amount.
Most of the women return to their parents voluntarily, while some are sent back to their native place by local leaders or police. However, a few of them stay back — most of them in Shantinagar, Ghousianagar, Nehrunagar and Kesare, where a majority of Muslims live — and lead a difficult life, because they do not want to be a burden on their parents.
K T Mathews Thomas, inspector, Udayagiri police station, said even on last Tuesday he came across such a case. But unfortunately, most of the cases go to Masjid committees in the area.
Thomas said, “Earlier this month a case was registered, wherein we sent the victim, Sareena, 24, wife of Aleem, an auto driver in Ghousianagar, to her home in Wayanad.”
Abdul Khadir Haji, secretary, Noorul Islam Sabha Committee, Ghousianagar, who has dealt with hundreds of such cases said 95 per cent of relationship in such marriages break within a few months — soon after the groom spends the dowry amount. Some relationships last for a few years. But the couple would have two or more children by then, which compounds the problem.
Most of the men involved in such marriages do not have a permanent address so that they can move from place to place marrying one woman after the other.
Women victims usually do not take legal action due to ignorance about their rights or language problem. Not many approach the police even though there is a women help desk at the CCB office on Ashoka Road. There is a Muslim special court to deal with such cases, but not many know about it.
Moulvi Umar Ali Shihab, Kerala Masjid, Ghousianagar, said the Masjid committee always discouraged such marriages, whenever an enquiry came from Kerala. “But most of the cases come here only after the couple get divorced,” he said.
Nizamudheen Noorani, administrator, Al-Noor English medium school, which caters to the needs of the children from slum areas in the locality, said about 125 students were victims of ‘Mysore kalyanam’.
He said even though the rate of such marriages was decreasing nowadays, brokers from Mysore and Kerala are still arranging quite a few of them. 
Parents in Kerala, who may have four or five daughters to be married off, are fooled by the brokers.

These women,mostly from poor background,married at an early age,usually at or before 18 years of age are married to men only because their parents think atleast they will be escaped from the poverty in the house and will have a good life.But in actual,these women only have a happy life lasting for about a month,and after that the dowry given by the girl's parents is spend by the husband and the problem starts.The first problem is of language as the grooms of Mysore knows only Kannada and the brides know only Malayalam.The first few days of marriage do not have this problem only because of the dowry.The next problem starts when the family relocates from the current house to a single room house in the slum.After relocation,usually these men leave their wives and would be back once in a month  or like that only for abusing,harassment on the basis of dowry.By the time these women would be pregnant and most of these women give birth to three or four children within five years of marriage and after that husband leaves them for ever.

As the condition of their families in Kerala is worse,most of them prefer to live in Mysore on the slums.The main source of money for these women is making Agarbathis(Incense Sandal Sticks) which earns them Rs.50 a day with which they have to live and look after their children.Most of these children do not go to school as their life does not permit them to study.This marriage was prevalent some 20 to 30 years back in Kerala and was predominant at that time.But because of Governmental and Police actions ,by the end of 90's it was somewhat eradicated.But recently some 3 to 4 years,the problem has started again.As the police of Karnataka state fears enter these slums,where some 10000 women are living in worse conditions which we cannot think of, some urgent action is needed from the part of Government or other Organisations for saving the life of these poor woman and to help another thousands who will be in the same trap in the future. Those who read this, at least pray for them and lend a hand for helping these poor sisters of ours.

By Sreejesh K

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